Category Archives: Canberra

Wood & Coal

Location: 125 Bunda Street, Canberra Centre, Canberra City ACT 2601

Opening hours: Monday – Sunday (12pm – late)

Phone: (02) 6162 0055

Website: http://www.woodandcoal.com.au

Wandering around civic on a Saturday night looking for a place for dinner seems almost impossible these days. With no reservations, Wood & Coal was the only restaurant that could accommodate our group of 3. No tables were available so we were seated at the bar.

Although eating at the bar was not the most comfortable dining experience, I did enjoy the view of the elegant décor and the view of the spit roasts cooking away.

DSC00501Wood & Coal specializes in spit roasts so I was eager to try one of their roast meats. Once notifying the kitchen of my fructose intolerance, I was quickly informed that all spit roasts were out of the question and that most (if not all) dishes contained some form of onion or garlic. The staff were quite apologetic and did say that they would have been able to accommodate my dietary needs if I ordered my meal in advance so they could make the necessary adjustments.

Due to my limited options, I went with hot chips and dessert.

My fructose-free dishes:

Chips, feta, oregano oil ($10)

Chips, feta, oregano oil ($10)

The chips had a nice crunch and was well-seasoned; but I would have preferred more feta rather than the sparse dollop here and there. ‘L’ noted that she preferred my home-made feta chips. (=P!!)

Olive oil sponge cake, blood orange custard, red velvet cheesecake ice-cream, olive soil ($18)

Olive oil sponge cake, blood orange custard, red velvet cheesecake ice-cream, olive soil ($18)

The description of the dessert was rather deceiving. Don’t get me wrong, the dessert was nice but not what I expected. The cake itself was a citrus orange & dessicated coconut sponge cake, the blood orange custard was more of a lemon curd, and the red velvet cheesecake ice-cream tasted like buttermilk and was more of a custard consistency. In general, I enjoyed my dessert, the sponge cake had a bold citrus flavor and I loved the sweetness from the dessicated coconut. However the red velvet ice-cream ruined the dish for me, as it tasted like off milk and had a grainy texture to it.

“L” dish:

Calamari, tomato, green goddess dressing, bacon, yuzu mayo ($17)

Calamari, tomato, green goddess dressing, bacon, yuzu mayo ($17)

‘L’ review:

” The calamari were done well and the yuzu mayo added a nice kick to the dish. My only issue was that it wasn’t really a salad due to the lack of greens and veggies, which would have been a nice addition in cutting  through the oiliness of the fried calamari.”

‘Z’ dish:

Zucchini, fritters, grilled haloumi, shriveled tomato, lemon jam, rice cracker ($16)

Zucchini, fritters, grilled haloumi, shriveled tomato, lemon jam, rice cracker ($16)

‘Z’ review:

“So for our trip to Wood and Coal I ordered the zucchini fritters that came with goats curd and lemon jam. The fritters were cooked really well; there were a couple that were slightly burnt but I enjoyed the additional crispiness that comes with deep-frying something to the extreme. The goats curd worked well in cutting through the greasiness of the fritters. I found that the lemon jam didn’t really contribute much to the balance and could have been replaced by something that added fresh acidity to help counter the richness of the dish (possibly fresh tomatoes or capsicum?).”

Final thoughts: In general we all enjoyed our meal but there is definitely room for improvement. I am interested in trying their spit roasts and seeing whether they can accommodate my restrictive dietary requirements.

First impression: 8/10

Customer services: 7/10

Food: 5.5/10

Value for money: 5/10

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Up 2 You

Location: 114 Emu Bank, Belconnen, ACT, 2617

Opening hours: Mon – Thurs (11am – 2am); Fri – Sat (11am – late); Sun (11am – 12am)

Phone: (02) 6253 0440

On a nice spring day ‘K’ and I went to ‘up 2 you’ for lunch. ‘Up to you’ is a hidden gem behind the strip of restaurants along Emu Bank. ‘Up to you’ serves authentic hong kong style dishes, which includes hot pot (all-you-can eat for $25), asian bbq meats, and cantonese clay pot rice (what I will be reviewing today).

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‘Up 2 you’ serves traditional claypot rice that can be found at any hawker store on the streets of Hong Kong. For those who are fructose intolerant, there are 2 claypot options ‘steamed beef & poached egg’ and ‘steamed chicken & salted fish’. I ordered the latter. We waited for around 20 minutes for our claypots to arrive. This is generally how long it takes if you want the authentic flavours that can only be achieved when this dish is cooked in a claypot rather than a rice cooker.

Steamed Chicken & Salted Fish with Cantonese Claypot Rice (the original claypot is served with fried shallots) - $13.80

Steamed Chicken & Salted Fish with Cantonese Claypot Rice (the original dish is served with fried shallots) – $13.80

The steamed chicken & salted fish claypot rice was flavoursome without detracting from the overall smokiness of claypot dishes. I was over the moon to find my beloved layer of crispy rice at the bottom of the clay pot (which had just the right amount of crunch!). My only criticism was the large pieces of salted fish, as it was too salty when eaten in one mouthful.

Final thoughts: I must say I was pleasantly surprised by the authenticity of the claypot rice and is probably one of the best I’ve had in Australia.

First impression: 7/10

Customer service: 8/10

Food: 9/10

Value for money: 8/10

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Sage Dining Rooms: Taste & Test Menu

Location: Gorman House Arts Centre/Batman St, Braddon ACT 2612

Opening hours: Tuesday – Saturday (Lunch: 12pm – 2pm; Dinner: 5:30pm – 10pm)

Phone: (02) 6249 6050

Website: http://www.sagerestaurant.net.au

A couple of months ago I had an amazing dinner experience at Sage, so I was super excited to hear about their Taste & test menu. In spring each year, Sage provides diners the opportunity to ‘taste and test’ dishes that may feature in next season’s menu. This is a great opportunity of the chef to experiment new flavours and receive feedback on these dishes.

When we arrived the restaurant was bustling. Once seated, our waiter gave us a rundown on how the Taste & test menu scoring system worked. Each person was given a score card and each dish was to be scored out of 10.

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Dish 1: Hawaiian sashimi with fried vermicelli

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A nice refreshing way to start the night off! I liked the mix of salmon and kingfish sashimi, and the extra ‘taste of the sea’ pop of fish roe. I would have preferred if the fried vermicelli had more of a chilli kick to it.

Dish 2: Corn soup with tempura prawns

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In general, everyone felt that the corn soup was overly sweet and the sauerkraut was too strong. It was unappetising to eat each component separately; however when eaten together in one mouthful, it was amazing.

Dish 2 (fructose-free): Pea & mint risotto with parmesan cheese shavings

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I was pretty devastated when my fructose-free dish was placed in front of me. Let’s be honest, it did not look appetizing at all (kinda reminded me of vomit). Even though I hate legumes with a passion and I’ve never been a fan of risotto, this dish blew my mind. The pea puree was silky smooth and I loved the subtle hints of mint flavour with each delicious mouthful. Although it was a very saucy dish, the risotto still maintained a nice bite and was not soggy at all.

Dish 3: Pork Belly with port vinegar with a side of savoy cabbage

(sorry forgot to take a photo of this dish!)

I liked the sweet port vinegar glazed pork belly which went well with the sour savoy cabbage. Unfortunately the pork belly skin was quite chewy, making it difficult to digest.

“Z” dish (vegetarian): Jasmine-infused radish with a side of savoy cabbage

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“Z” commented that the daikon was flavoursome. “L” tried it and preferred this vegetarian dish over her pork belly dish.

Dish 4: Braised lamb neck with quinoa tabouleh, mustard crisp, eggplant puree & goats curd

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Dish 4 (fructose-free): Pan seared lamb with quinoa tabouleh, mustard crisp, eggplant puree & goats curd

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We all agreed that the meat was flavoursome and cooked well. Unfortunately the eggplant puree left an unpleasant after-taste.

Dish 5: Raspberry and passionfruit mousse with white chocolate snow and coconut & mint ice-cream

DSC00468I loved the summery theme of this dessert! This was a multi-layer raspberry mousse scroll with a passionfruit cream centre, layer of raspberry mousse, finished off with a thin wrap of raspberry jelly. This heavenly sweetness sat on top of a vanilla sponge bed. The coconut & mint ice-cream was refreshing and went really well with the mousse scroll. Each component of the dessert tantalised my tastebuds.

Final thoughts: As always, a lovely dining experience with nice ambience, delicious food, and delightful company. Slight disappointment that the chef decided to serve a pork belly dish and a lamb neck dish again, seeing as it featured in last season’s menu.

First impression: 8/10

Customer service: 8/10

Food: 7/10

Value for money: 8/10

Sage Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Brodburger

Location: 11 Wentworth Avenue Kingston ACT 2603

Opening hours: Tues – Sat (11.30am – 3pm; 5.30pm – late); Sun (12pm – 4pm)

Phone: (02) 6162 0793

Website: http://www.brodburger.com.au

The infamous Brodburger!

Everyone knows that Brodburger serves the best burgers in Canberra. Everyone who has left Canberra repeatedly tell me that Brodburger is the one thing they miss the most about this city.

On this sunny long weekend ‘Z’ and I ventured to Kingston for some fresh air, sunshine & burgers *drooL*!!

‘Z’ ordered the Brodburger:

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Brodburger: ½ pound flame grilled beef patty, fresh lettuce, tomatoes & spanish onions. Includes homemade aioli & tomato relish ($13.50)

Her verdict:

“The meat was cooked really well in that it was still slightly pink in the middle. The garlic aioli worked well with the red onions and I liked that the bun was crusty on the outside but soft enough in the middle that towards the end it soaked up all the sauce. I think my only criticism was maybe a bit less aioli next time?”

I ordered a fructose-free BrodSalmon:

BrodSalmon: Grilled Salmon fillet with fresh lettuce, tomato & topped with swiss cheese ($14.90)

BrodSalmon: Grilled salmon fillet with fresh lettuce, tomato & topped with swiss cheese ($16.10)

My Verdict:

“The salmon was grilled perfectly with crispy salmon skin. There really was no need for aioli and relish (which comes in the original version of the burger) as the salmon itself was already quite rich. The layer of melted swiss cheese was a nice substitute for the aioli. I also like the fact that Brodburger has not followed the trend of serving burgers in brioche buns. This is a classic burger at its best.”

Final thoughts: The burgers were massive and as droolworthy as they were, I could not finish it. Oh, did I mention they make awesome fries too!

First impression: 9/10

Customer service: 10/10

Food: 9/10

Value for money: 10/10

Brodburger on Urbanspoon

Monster Kitchen and Bar

Location: Hotel Hotel – 25 Edinburgh Ave Canberra

Opening hours: 6.30am – 1am every day

Phone: (02) 6287 6287

Website: http://www.hotel-hotel.com.au/eat-and-drink/monster/

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I have been contemplating for awhile as to whether to review my dinner experience at Monster Kitchen & Bar. This was because I had a very different dining experience to everyone else.

Monster Kitchen & Bar’s menu is designed for sharing so I felt that it was the perfect place for “K’s” birthday bash.

Once the group was seated, the waiter explained the “Monster Kitchen & bar” ordering method, recommending the number of dishes we should order to gain the best possible dining experience. Unfortunately this did not work out with such a big group as everyone wanted to try different dishes. The waiter kept on insisting that we order shared dishes that by the time everyone decided on what dishes to share, their dining experience was already ruined.

Lucky for me, due to my fructose intolerance, the waiter ‘allowed’ me to order my own dishes.

I think the kitchen was going for a French-Japanese / French-Korean fusion theme with my dishes.

Eggplant, smoked goat’s curd, katsuobushi and sesame ($18)

Eggplant, smoked goat’s curd, katsuobushi and sesame ($18)

The eggplant dish: The eggplant had an intense smoky miso flavour. When eaten in combination with the goat’s curd, the creamy texture of the curd smoothed out the strong miso flavour. It was a really interesting play on textures and flavours.

Dutton Park duck breast, heirloom carrots roasted in duck fat, kimchi and horseradish crème ($28)

Dutton Park duck breast, heirloom carrots roasted in duck fat, kimchi and horseradish crème ($28)

The duck breast dish: When the waiter informed me of their fructose-free house-made kimchi cucumber, I was super excited as I have been missing Korean food since I’ve started on my fructose-free diet. The duck breast was cooked perfectly with the fat rendered down and pink in the middle. When eaten in combination with the kimchi cucumber and horseradish crème, it was divine.

I was one happy fatty bunny that night!

Final thoughts: I had a wonder dining experience and I found the combination of flavours very interesting. BUT the rest of the group did not particularly enjoy their meal and left still feeling hungry.

First impression: 4/10

Customer service: 4/10

Food: 7/10

Value for money: 4/10

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Remedy by Lonsdale Street Roasters

Location: 39 Benjamin Way, Belconnen, ACT 2616

Opening hours: Mon – Fri (7.00am – 3.00pm); Sat (8.00am – 1.00pm)

Website: https://www.facebook.com/remedybylonsdalestroastersbelconnen

To celebrate the end of the week, a bunch of us went to have lunch at ‘Remedy by Lonsdale Street Roasters’.

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Remedy has been open for around 2 weeks so their menu is still quite limited. Unfortunately they do not currently offer gluten-free meal options. Seeing as I’m onto phase 2 of my fructose-free / low FODMAP diet (this involves testing out different foods to see what I can and cannot tolerate), I gave the beef brisket burger a go.

9 hour slow cooked beef brisket & expresso BBQ sauce & rocket

9 hour slow cooked beef brisket & expresso BBQ sauce & rocket

The burger was pretty awesome – it was served in a brioche bun with generous amounts of meat. The beef brisket was tender and flavoursome but there were some slices of meat where they had not rendered off the fat properly. This is only a slight criticism to an awesome Friday lunch.

Seeing as Lonsdale Street Roasters is famous for their coffee, I had to try it out. How adorable is the coffee art!

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Final thoughts: Delicious food & great coffee. Cannot wait to see what more they will offer & hopefully they will expand their menu to cater for dietary needs.

First impression: 7/10

Customer service: 7/10

Food: 7/10

Value for money: 7/10

Remedy by Lonsdale Street Roasters on Urbanspoon

Loading Zone

Location: 22 Odgers Lane, Canberra, 2601

Opening hours: Mon – Fri (7.00am – 3.15pm); Sat (8.00am – 2.00pm)

Phone: (02) 6248 6400

Website: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Loading-Zone/261251113992709

Missing Melbourne alittle bit too much these days, I dragged ‘L’ to the Loading Zone for brunch and girl chat time. This café is tucked away in an alleyway and is literally set up…in a loading zone. The Loading Zone only offers outdoor seating but they do have heaters set up.

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Upon arrival, we were quickly seated and our drinks orders were taken. As always, I started off with a skim cappuccino. The coffee was nothing special.

Skim cappuccino ($4)

Skim cappuccino ($4)

I must say the customer service here was exceptional. When informing the waitress of my fructose intolerance, the chef / owner actually came to our table to discuss what dish they could put together for me. Both ‘L’ and I ordered the parmesan & basil stirred eggs with tomatoes and bacon.

Parmesan & basil stirred eggs with tomatoes & bacon ($17)

Parmesan & basil stirred eggs with tomatoes & bacon ($17)

I liked my meal, in particular, the creamy scrambled eggs. I was not a big fan of the bacon and would have preferred if they rendered down the bacon fat.

Final thoughts: Nice homely breakfast options. I am definitely interested in returning to try their lunch menu.

First impression: 9/10

Customer service: 9/10

Food: 7/10

Value for money: 7/10

Loading Zone on Urbanspoon

Aubergine

Location: 18 Baker Street Griffith ACT 2603

Opening hours: Monday to Saturday from 6pm 

Phone: (02) 6260 8666

Website: http://www.aubergine.com.au

For “G’s” farewell dinner we decided to go “all-out” and dine at Aubergine. I felt rather special as they personalised a fructose-free & lactose-free menu just for moi!

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I had my own gluten-free bread and olive oil starter! Off to an excellent start Aubergine!

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Everyone started off with the same first course – ‘Leather jacket, braised fennel, rice paddy herb, scallop floss’. The only difference that I could see between my fructose-free dish and everyone else’s dish was that my piece of fish was grilled whereas theirs were crumbed. I must say this was my favourite savoury dish; the leather jacket was perfectly cooked and so silky smooth. I really liked how they maintained the integrity of the fish with minimal seasoning. The rice paddy herb sauce combined all the different components, and in my opinion, was the star of the dish. The scallop floss was an interesting touch, but in terms of flavouring, I didn’t feel that it added anything extra to the dish.

First course: Leather jacket, braised fennel, rice paddy herb, scallop floss

First course: Leather jacket, braised fennel, rice paddy herb, scallop floss

My second dish was the ‘Palmers Island mulloway, celtuce, braised seaweed, egg yolk’. Another fish dish but a completely different taste bud adventure, taking me all the way to Japan. The braised seaweed had an interesting paste-like consistency with a slight smokiness to it.

Second course: Palmers Island mulloway, celtuce, braised seaweed, egg yolk

Second course: Palmers Island mulloway, celtuce, braised seaweed, egg yolk

My third dish was the ‘Lion of venison, red cabbage, crimson potatoes, horseradish’. This dish was the same as the original version. ‘K’ commented that the vinegar jus was just too overpowering, and although the venison was cooked well, we both found this dish somewhat disappointing.

Third course: Lion of venison, red cabbage, crimson potatoes, horseradish

Third course: Lion of venison, red cabbage, crimson potatoes, horseradish

The forth and final dish was ‘Thai pepper cream, strawberry fruit granita, whipped strawberry’. This dessert was AMAZEBALLS! The strawberry fruit granita had a jelly-like consistency. When mixed with the thai pepper cream and whipped strawberry, it kinda reminded me of milk froth (real light and fluffy!).

This dessert was not overly sweet or rich; and was a refreshing way to finish off the night without weighing me down.

Forth course: Thai pepper cream, strawberry fruit granita, whipped strawberry

Forth course: Thai pepper cream, strawberry fruit granita, whipped strawberry

Final thoughts: eagerly anticipating what they will have on their menu next season!

First impression: 9/10

Customer service: 10/10

Food: 9/10

Value for money: 9/10

Aubergine on Urbanspoon

Broddog

Location: Level 3 carpark, Westfield Belconnen (Outback Jack’s exit)

Following the American food scene, Brodburger has expanded into the hotdog arena.

Broddog has set-up stall at the Westfield Belconnen carpark and will be there for the next 3 months.

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Broddog offers 8 different types of hotdogs: Chilli Dog, New Yorker, American Dog, Omi Dog, Aussie Sizzle, The Veggie, Broddog and Chilli Cheese Dog.

Chilli Cheese Dog: your choice of dog with beef chilli, fondue cheese sauce, corn relish & shaved gruyere cheese ($10.50)

‘Z’ ordered the chilli cheese dog. She really liked the chicken sausage and thought that it was seasoned well. She found that the combination of beef chilli worked really well with the mayo. Her only criticism was that it was abit too greasy.

New Yorker: Double smoked pork frankfurt, sweet tomato relish topped with German style sauerkraut, speck and American mustard ($9)

New Yorker: Double smoked pork frankfurt, sweet tomato relish topped with German style sauerkraut, speck and American mustard ($9)

‘K’ ordered the New Yorker. He enjoyed his dog but found the mustard slightly overpowering and couldn’t really taste anything else.

The Veggie: seasoned fried popcorn cauliflower & eggplant, drowned in a fondue cheese sauce, topped with sweet potato ribbons & shaved gruyere cheese ($8.50)

The Veggie: seasoned fried popcorn cauliflower & eggplant, drowned in a fondue cheese sauce, topped with sweet potato ribbons & shaved gruyere cheese ($8.50)

I ordered The Veggie with gluten-free bread. The original ‘The Veggie’ hotdog comes with fried popcorn cauliflower but this was omitted to cater for my fructose intolerance. The Veggie dog wasn’t really a hotdog as it did not come with a sausage; instead it is substituted with eggplant. The eggplant was flavoursome and I really liked the crispy sweet potato ribbons, which added a touch of sweetness to the dog. I would have liked to see more eggplant in proportion to the mountain of cheese stacked on top.

Cheesy chips: fondue cheese & grated gruyere cheese ($6.50)

Cheesy chips: fondue cheese & grated gruyere cheese ($6.50)

We also ordered a side of cheesy chips to share. The chips were rather mediocre.

Final thoughts: we all enjoyed our afternoon snack but it was quite expensive for such a small meal.

First impression: 8/10

Customer service: 8/10

Food: 6/10

Value for money: 4/10

Temporada

Location: 15 Moore Street, Canberra City
 ACT 2601

Opening hours: Monday to Saturday (12pm til late) 

Phone: (02) 6249 6683

Website: http://www.temporada.com.au

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I’m not usually this efficient with my restaurant reviews but I really do feel that this is one review that needs to be done asap.

Temporada is run by the same people who own Aubergine (which I love!) so I was expecting great things from them.

As I wanted to ensure that they could cater for my dietary needs, I emailed them a list of what I can and cannot eat, as well as pre-ordering my meal for that night. After not hearing back from Temporda for a couple days, I gave them a call to confirm that they have received my email and was assured that the chef could cater for my fructose intolerance.

Once arriving at the restaurant, the waiter took our drinks order. When I informed the waiter that I was fructose intolerant and inquired as to what was in the cocktail to ensure that I could drink it, he was very dismissive and impatient with my concerns.

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When it came time to order our dishes, I notified the waiter that I had pre-ordered my meal due to my special dietary needs. Even though I pointed out that I had emailed the restaurant as to what I can and cannot eat, the waiter requested that I list all the items again. When he realized that this was a very long list, he abruptly cut me off.

As the menu clearly stated that the wagyu rump included kale, I specifically pointed out that I could not eat kale. When my dish arrived *surprise surprise* there was kale. There really wasn’t any point in sending my dish back as it was very clear by then that they did not take my dietary needs seriously.

Clockwise: Wagyu rump cap, kale, smoked potato ($36); Duck Cassoulet ($30); Steamed spring bay mussels, harissa & coconut broth ($25)

Clockwise: Wagyu rump cap, kale, smoked potato ($36); Duck Cassoulet ($30); Steamed spring bay mussels, harissa & coconut broth ($25)

‘J’ found his Duck coussalet rather mediocre, ‘S’ liked (but did not love) her Mussel dish, and ‘G’ and I both agree that the wagyu rump tasted nice but nothing special.

Salted caramel parfait, peanuts, chocolate ganache, orange ($16)

Salted caramel parfait, peanuts, chocolate ganache, orange ($16)

‘S’ who loves anything salted caramel was very disappointed with this dessert. This was the first time I’ve seen her not finish a dessert dish. She pointed out that the chocolate ganache was too rich and combined with the salted caramel parfait; it was just rich-on-rich, making the overall dish way too heavy.

I think it’s great that the Canberra food scene is growing, but regardless of how great the food is, if a restaurant cannot cater for dietary needs (e.g. allergies, gluten-free, fructose intolerance, etc) then this is a serious issue as they are putting their customers at risk.

Final thoughts: Will not return! They do not take dietary needs seriously and I was very sick after dining here.

First impression: 7/10

Customer service: 0/10

Food: 4.5/10

Value for money: 0/10

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